CRICKET: KNOWLE and Dorridge extended their lead at the top of the Birmingham Premier League, despite only earning a winning draw against Kenilworth Wardens.
The hosts, who have hit a purple patch of form in the last month, lost the toss and were asked to bowl first.
Sensing an opportunity to apply further pressure to title rivals Shrewsbury and Berkswell, Knowle and Dorridge wasted no time in putting runs on the board despite losing opener Alex Phillips for six.
New Zealand international George Worker continued his dominant Birmingham Premier League form though, racing to his half century in quick fashion.
He received able support from Ateeq Javid (19) and Oliver Haley (18) while skipper Sam Reddish hit a handy 50 from 86 balls.
Worker stole the show though. After reaching 100, the 27-year-old went on to hit a further 57 runs before eventually being caught out for 157 off just 137 balls.
Worker’s foundation ensured Knowle and Dorridge’s tailenders could afford to hit out.
Tom Smith hit a quick 13 while Jack Grundy ended on 9* after Dominic Harding was stumped for three – the league leaders finishing on 283/6 from 55 overs.
In reply, Wardens set about seeing out the 55 overs – knowing a losing draw would strengthen the gap between themselves and relegation.
Scott Stenning hit a patient half century while fellow opener Ben Rex added 13 from 42 balls before he was caught off the bowling of Javid.
With the score at 77/1, Basit Zaman was the next to fall lbw from the bowling of Jack Grundy.
When Prerak Mankad fell for only one, Knowle and Dorridge sensed an opportunity to close out the game.
But solid middle order batting from Harry Johnson (14), Martin Donald (16), and Tom Brammer (18) prevented the visitors from making any serious dents in Wardens’ batting line up.
Nick Sale failed to score, but by then Wardens had done enough to earn a losing draw as Kamran Anwar and Khayam Khan both ended on 0*.
Wardens take six points while Knowle and Dorridge continue their dominance with another 17 points.
Elsewhere Wardens’ 2nd XI lost the toss against Knowle and Dorridge’s 2nd team and were asked to bat.
Despite hitting the first ball for four, Wardens were quickly in trouble at 5/2 after Evans had young Butler and veteran Henderson removed.
This left Madley to steady the ship with Anthony. The pair built a steady 40 run partnership before Anthony was Evan’s 3rd victim being adjudged LBW after a wild slog.
Warwickshire academy player Mousley then joined skipper Madley to continue to see out the opening burst from the dangerous Rowe.
As the swing reduced Madley looked well set before guiding one to Baker at gully for 46.
At 93/4 off 26 overs, the innings was finely in the balance.
Mousley and Tommy Rex built a run-a-ball 139 run partnership to take Wardens to a respectable yet slightly under par 232/3.
In reply, Wardens produced their best bowling display of the season.
Led by veteran Whiting, Wardens restricted Knowle and Dorridge’s progress with the bat – and the run rate soon hit nine-an-over.
It was only when Wardens had their opponents seven down did they resort to blocking out a draw.
Perhaps naively, Knowle and Dorridge failed to reach 186 which would have denied Wardens two extra winning draw points.
This gift is one that Wardens will hope to take full advantage off as they continue their excellent season.
Wardens swap places with Knowle and Dorridge and sit in third place – 37 points off top spot with five games remaining.